WASHINGTON - A new law will have millions of drivers thinking twice the next time they reach for their cell phones.
Washington is now the 14th state mandating drivers put down their phones or pay up. It’s a crackdown on driving under the influence of electronics.
“It's wrong to drive while impaired, while drunk. It is equally and more dangerous to drive while you are distracted,” said Washington Governor Jay Inslee.
Starting Sunday, Washington State police officers can stop and ticket drivers just for holding an electronic device, even while stopped. It’s a law Brittney Dawkins thinks should be implemented in the Carolinas.
“It will save a lot of people’s lives,” said Dawkins.
Some say South Carolina needs tougher laws on texting and driving. Currently, the law requires officers to see drivers in the act of texting. Plus, it only bans sending and reading texts, not other distractions that come with a smartphone.
“So, literally you could drive down the road playing angry birds and that doesn't violate the law. It can’t be enforced.”
A bill working its way through the South Carolina legislature would make that illegal, and make the fines stiffer, going from $25 to $500. Across state lines in North Carolina, the laws are similar.
It’s illegal to text and drive and you can be fined anywhere from $25 to $100.
“I was actually texting and driving and I totaled my brand new car. So I am so adamant about not texting and driving now.”
Yet, it is legal to make calls while driving. A bill working through the NC state house would make that illegal and stick drivers with a $200 fine.
Sen. Jeff Tarte named the bill after Charlotte teen Brian Garlock.
“He was a 17-year-old who was on his phone talking to his girlfriend and pulled out in front of a truck and got hit and killed.”